Roasted Carrot Cheesecake (Gluten Free)

April 2015

This cake makes me think of the proper white fences, bright green grasses and rose crowns of the Kentucky Derby. Much like the horses fighting to be the fastest, my mind has been racing lately. My eyes have been bigger than my stomach when it comes to piling ambitions on my to-do lists and then I chide myself for falling short of my expectations. In reality, I find myself closer to certain goals than I have ever been, but it’s all too easy to miss the individual markers when sprinting in circles.

Roasted Carrot Cheesecake by With The Grains 04

These are the times when adages will advise the overwhelmed, the anxious, the uninspired and the rushing masses to stop and smell the roses. However, recently I have found more relief in watching the creatures surrounding the roses- the bees.

Roasted Carrot Cheesecake  // www.WithTheGrains.com

The ceremony may have paled in comparison to the processions of real royalty, but watching The Urban Farmer release his Queen Bee felt momentous nonetheless. He had sequestered her from her subjects, allowing them time to accept her and her role. Cloaked in a mesh veil and long sleeves, The Urban Farmer opened the hives and released her from her special chamber. Her new kingdom accepted her, and all was well.

Roasted Carrot Cheesecake  // www.WithTheGrains.com

The worker bees feasted on sugar water and continued about their business, buzzing and crowding the door to their new home. Steadily, bees entered and exited the pencil-eraser-sized opening in the wooden box. Some ventured into the woods, while others returned, their legs fat and laden with yellow pollen. Sitting amongst a swarm of bees requires a certain stillness, but I found, they also inspire a certain stillness. Their buzzing patterns were mesmerizing and noticeably calming.

Roasted Carrot Cheesecake  // www.WithTheGrains.com

The Urban Farmer recently joked, “I didn’t become a farmer because I like people.” Whether farming, beekeeping, tapping maple trees or butchering a hog, these time honored traditions require just that- time and honor. We rushed and rushed to mechanize and streamline, but perhaps like energy, the rush can neither be created nor destroyed, simply transferred. After all our advancements, it seems all the rush went straight to our minds. While I’m not so deep in affectation as to shun all of our modern conveniences, I am grateful to have found this farmer who lends his peacefulness to my galloping thoughts. You can’t rush a bee, you can’t rush a seed, and you surely can’t rush a cheesecake. Nor should you rush eating it.

Single-Grain

Bon Appétit!
-Quelcy

p.s: Learn more about beekeeping in this post.

Roasted Carrot Cheesecake with Gluten Free Ginger Oat Crust

About This Recipe: Roasting enhances the natural sweetness of carrots, which inspired me to feature carrots in a dessert. Start with this Roasted Carrot Recipe, and then use a food processor to puree. The combination of spices yields a flavor very similar to a pumpkin cheesecake. Play with the spice combination if you want to emphasize the carrot flavor profile more.

Roasted Carrot Cheesecake with Gluten Free Ginger Oat Crust
yield: 9-inch cake

Crust Ingredients

1-1/2 cups organic, gluten-free oats (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
16 dried plums
~1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 stick organic unsalted butter, melted

Filling Ingredients

16 oz (2 packages) organic cream cheese, softened
1 cup organic light brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature (organic/cage-free)

1 3/4 cup roasted carrot puree* (~2 lbs roasted organic carrots, pureed)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Whipped Cream Ingredients

3/4 cup organic heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish

fresh organic mint leaves
carrot peels

For the Crust:

Preheat oven at 350℉. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan.

Combine all the crust ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until combined and paste like.

Press the mixture onto the bottom of the spring-form pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Turn down oven temperature to 275℉.

For the Filling:

Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix for 2 minutes.

Pour in roasted carrot puree, vanilla, ginger and spices. Blend for another 2 minutes, until well combined.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Tap the pan on a counter a few times to release all the air in the batter.

Position rack in the center of oven and place cheesecake on it. Place a shallow pan full of water on the lower rack in the oven.

Bake for an 60-70 minutes, or until the edge of the cheesecake is puffed but the center is still wobbly and wet looking.

Turn off the oven, and with the door slightly opened (you can use a wooden spoon to prop it open), let the cheesecake sit in the oven to cool completely, at least an hour.

Remove from the oven. Chill for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

For the Whipped Cream:

Combine the ingredients in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Keep chilled until ready to use.

When ready to add the whipped cream, use a pastry bag and a #48 pastry tip to create the lattice.

Arrange carrot peels in a spiral, and surround with fresh mint to create the center rose.

Enjoy!

 

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